Joint exhibition to highlight Cumberland and climate change | Local News

Once one has walked the shores of the pristine Cumberland Island, its natural beauty seems to be calling one over and over again. That certainly proved true for Christa Bowden.

The Atlanta native grew up visiting the island. As he grew into an adult, it continued to hold a special place in his heart. So it’s no surprise that when Bowden became an artist, he wanted to use his talent to share his location as well as the climate change threat it poses.

“In 2016, during the centennial of the national park system, I decided that I wanted to do a project in Cumberland, which was part of the park system,” Bowden recalls.

To help her share her story, she enlisted the help of two other artists she met in graduate school at the University of Georgia. Ernesto and Emily Gomez, both professors at Georgia College in Milledgeville, were eager to join the project.

What followed was years of effort to capture the different elements of the island over time through different mediums. Bowden is a photographer, as is Emily, while Ernesto is a sculptor who also explores sound.

“Of course, with Cumberland, I can’t take a lot of my sculpting materials out there,” Ernesto said with a laugh. “So I did some recording and I also drew the wind with charcoal.”

Many of Emily’s works are cyanotype prints, while Bowden produces black and white photographs, as well as color photographs. After working diligently for several years, the trio spent two weeks on the island comparing notes and putting together all the loose threads.

“We were able to get grants through my university where I am now, in Virginia,” Bowden said. “So we can really see what each other has and put it together.”

They have shared work in previous exhibitions but on Thursday it will be as close to the subject as possible. Cumberland Island: Land, Water, Wind, and Light will be open during a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Glynn Visual Arts, 106 Island Drive, St. Simons Island.

“We’ve had an exhibition in Augusta and one in Virginia, but we’re really excited to come to St. Simons,” said Bowden.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Emily said. “We will all be there and will talk about our work.”

Apart from artists, Glynn Visual Arts (GVA) also invited local conservation group, 100 Miles to join the exhibition. In addition to being present at the opening, the group will be giving lectures from 10 am to noon on June 15.

Stephanie Chewning, Coordinator of the Hundred Mile Coastal Education, will lead the discussion on the Cumberland Island National Coast and its importance to the area. This program is part of the ongoing GVA free Wednesday Workshop.

“GVA continues to expand and diversify the exhibits in our gallery and this exhibition is a great example with its experiential elements. The entire project showcases the rich talent of Ernesto, Emily and Christa, both literally and figuratively through the lens of their love and devotion to Cumberland Island,” said Terri Evans, executive director of GVA. “Co-hosting a reception with One Hundred Miles is a match made on our heavenly shore.”

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